While Marvel Studios is clearly excited to bring Phase 4 to the world after an 18-month delay, the team is still in a deep state of mourning after the events of 2020. This is largely due to the unexpected passing of Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman, who died of colon cancer in August 2020 at 43 years old.
Boseman kept his diagnosis a secret from the world until the very end, when his death put the entertainment world at a screeching halt. His coworkers and friends couldn't hold back their emotions expressing their love and gratitude for his influence on Hollywood, and it's a celebrity death that many fans will never forget.
As Black Panther II looks to begin production this year, one of the movie's stars took a moment to look back on Boseman and his impact on superhero movies.
QUEEN RAMONDA REMEMBERS KING T'CHALLA
In a recent interview with ET, Black Panther star Angela Bassett took some time to reflect on the loss of her co-star and friend, Chadwick Boseman.
When asked about her thoughts on Marvel Studios' decision to not recast nor CGI Chadwick Boseman's T'Challa for Black Panther II, Bassett seemed to be unclear of what it would truly mean to "CGI" Boseman into the movie, as indicated by her response:
"That's interesting... Well I had not thought about that idea [of CGI'ing Boseman's T'Challa], but of course it is Wakanda and they are, in terms of technology, they are so far ahead of the rest of the world that they would be able to bring some of that."
While looking ahead to production for 2022's Black Panther II, Bassett praised Marvel CCO Kevin Feige and director Ryan Coogler for their commitment to telling the best story they can tell with these unfortunate circumstances:
"It's a tremendous loss but [President of Marvel Studios] Kevin [Feige] and the Marvel universe and Ryan [Coogler], the director, the writer from before, they are committed to telling [a story] and equally as much as we can, equally planned. So we are looking forward to that. Looking forward to what they come up with."
Adding that the filmmakers involved with Black Panther II "have to do a major pivot," which they are still working on, Bassett admires the team's fortitude as she and her Marvel family mourn Chadwick Boseman's passing:
"Our brother held it really close, really close to the chest. But his legacy, his loss, the love and appreciation that we have for who he was and what he shared with us cannot be [replaced]… It is missed and appreciated and cannot be duplicated. It's a tremendous honor and, yes, he is completely irreplaceable."
ONLY ONE BLACK PANTHER
Chadwick Boseman's death hit the Marvel world like few other deaths have after he starred in four MCU Phase 3 movies, including the lead role in 2018's Black Panther. Feige and the studio were planning to keep him involved with the franchise for years to come, continuing in Black Panther II with early plans for a third film to complete the trilogy.
The team has had to completely rethink what they will do with the sequel, especially after Feige confirmed that the role of T'Challa will not be recast within the MCU. The movie will now be focused on expanding the legacy of Wakanda, and the specific plot details are still a complete mystery.
Boseman's co-stars have all expressed how difficult it is to think about continuing the Black Panther story without their on-screen leader. The MCU's king of Wakanda made such a profound impact on not only superhero movies, but the entertainment industry as a whole, and the team behind the sequel will undoubtedly do their due diligence to honor his memory the way he deserves.
Black Panther II will begin filming in July 2021, and it is set to release in theaters on July 8, 2022. Chadwick Boseman's final performance as the Black Panther will come in the animated MCU series What If...?, which will debut on Disney+ this summer.